California public schools and public service are the foundation of my family.
I am a proud alumnus of public schools in California - from the day I started Kindergarten on Vandenberg Air Force base to the day I received my college diploma from CSU Long Beach. My dad was enlisted in the military, where he earned his college diploma one class at a time over his 22 years of service. After retiring from the Air Force, he became a math teacher at our local middle school and is now in his 18th year teaching in Lompoc Unified School District.
Growing up on Vandenberg, I inherited a spirit for service, an appreciation for people from different backgrounds, and an understanding of the importance of hard work and perseverance.
I graduated, with honors, with a degree in Chemical Engineering from CSU Long Beach. After working as an engineer at Honeywell Aerospace in Torrance, I earned my MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University. I then joined Boston Consulting Group and worked to transform large organizations across the country.
I have dedicated my public service career to where I can help the most, from transforming a large public school system as a leader at Chicago Public Schools (one of the largest school systems in the country with over 600 schools and almost 400,000 students) to leading strategy and operations at EducationSuperHighway, a San Francisco-based non-profit that has helped connect thousands of schools and millions of students and teachers to high-speed broadband.
And now, I want to bring my experience and passion to serve all public schools in California as Superintendent of Public Instruction.
I know my story isn’t everyone’s story, but I believe that everyone should be provided the chance to succeed, just like I was. I also understand that while all families are not the same, all families deserve access and representation in our public education system.
California is where the future happens. In education, however, we are falling behind. Millions of our students are behind grade level in reading and math. Many of these students are in low income urban and rural communities - the same communities where I have lived and worked. Our students, teachers, and families also cope with other factors that distract them from their goals - including uncertainty around college and career opportunities, lack of access to basic services and technology, bullying, and the pressures of social media.
We need to do more to support all students, teachers, and families...and we can do more. It is not only a moral imperative, but it is also critical for the long term prosperity of our great state.
My personal mission is to give every child in California the opportunity to lead their best life through public education. I lead from a comprehensive, equity-driven agenda that holds every child at the center:
Every student has the individual support, resources, and learning environment that empowers them to fulfill their potential
Every teacher has the resources they need to meet the needs of the specific students with whom they are entrusted every day
Every parent, guardian, and family member is empowered to make the best decisions for their children and are able to support them in their learning
My history of service in public education demonstrates my relentless focus on these three guiding principles and, as Superintendent, I will focus on improving the daily lives of students, teachers, and families.
We need to move beyond the special interests and status quo stifling progress in many of our public schools. We all need to commit to catching up, getting ahead, and leading in public education like California should. My family, my teachers, and my community fought to make sure I had the opportunity to succeed, and I am dedicated to fighting for all children in California. It will be the honor of my life to serve the more than 6 million students who are in the same classrooms that supported me, and I look forward to working with you.